The cool credentials of the Ace Hotel group (with properties in New York, Portland, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles) show little sign of retreat. Even the unprepossessing exterior of this outpost—hidden within the shell of a former Crowne Plaza hotel in the heart of London’s burgeoning East End—hasn’t deterred the crowds. Young, friendly staff in Ace-branded baseball hats, drainpipe jeans, and Converse trainers welcome you upon arrival. Dotted around the lobby are vintage-style, fixed-gear Tokyobikes and a retro-inspired photo booth. Elsewhere, reclaimed furniture and polished concrete walls abound. A long, bench-style table sees freelancers hunched over Macs during the day, in a space that evolves to welcome a passing array of local mums and business types, before DJs take over at 7 p.m. and the downstairs bar starts shaking. Perhaps that’s where the brand’s success lies—in evolution—because despite creating a string of much-imitated hotels, no single one is the same. The Shoreditch addition is no exception, brandishing a unique, local character that still manages to play an Ace card.
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Barely a day goes by without a new opening in Shoreditch. This cultural enclave in what was once London’s run-down East End is now the epicenter of the area’s ongoing regeneration. On Brick Lane, thrift stores such as Rokit rub shoulders with curry houses, run by the area’s large Bangladeshi community. Stop by Andina for complex Peruvian food, or snack on market-style offerings at Shoreditch Food Village. Browse the boutiques and old pubs of Redchurch Street, where local favorites include Labour and Wait and the Owl & Pussycat. For art and alternative clothing, head to the pop-up Box Park retail mall.
Need to Know
Rooms: 258 rooms, including three suites. From $479. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Enter the perfumed threshold of independently-run That Flower Shop to reach Hoi Polloi, the hotel’s signature restaurant, delivered by the team behind popular East End eatery Bistrotheque. There’s also the basement Miranda nightclub, the Bulldog Edition café, and the Lovage juice bar. Spa and gym details: No spa, but a small round-the-clock gym downstairs.
Who's it for: Anyone with an eye for the alternative and an appetite for soaking up the lively Shoreditch area. It’s often described as a hipster honeypot, a generalization that fails to recognize the hotel’s open-to-all policy. Suits and baby strollers are as present as beanie hats and beards. Our favorite rooms: All suites have balconies, but only one—the Ace Suite—comes with a roof terrace. That said, the Superior Deluxe options aren’t too shabby, with the feeling of a friend’s open-plan, warehouse apartment. Rock-star experience: Ask for a room with Rega turntables, a vinyl collection, and a limited-edition acoustic Martin guitar—100 are scattered throughout the hotel.